Ted Ligety is a ski racing star, growing increasingly unbeatable each year. but he's got something different from any other sports star in America: while at the peak of his competitive prowess, he has started his own company.
If you don't already have a pair of Shred goggles, better get some quick. Wearing the white or violently neon blue, green, or pink goggles with the cool strap that loudly says "Shred" on each side, shows that you know what's going on. Ligety's goggles are the newest status symbol for both skiers and snowboarders, because a popular athlete makes them.
Ligety says, "Goggle companies are partial towards their certain niche. (i.e.only racers wear Uvex and only freeriders use Oakley) But growing up racing in the west I knew kids who were racing in the morning and doing a big air comps in the afternoon. So I saw an opportunity to bridge that gap by creating a company that was the best of both worlds, stylized around freeskiing but with the functionality of the best race goggles. So I felt I had an opportunity to start a company that did just that."
With Shred Optics, Ligety also reveals another, unexpected and more edgy side.
Remember, this is an athlete portrayed as the boy next door, a 23-year-old blond hunk who never does anything bad, gets along, the opposite end of the spectrum from Bode Miller.
Yet he says, "I’ve always believed ski racing needs to be marketed in the same genre as “action” sports. I mean we’re going 100 mph at times, catching huge air and making tighter radius turns than anyone thought was possible, so why should our sport be marketed by old men in suits who don’t want the sport to evolve?"
Ligety launched his company, Shred Optics, less than a year ago, unveiling the goggles at the World Cup in Levi, Finland. His partner is Carlo Salmini, who started Slytech which designs and produces all the protective gear he uses (ski racers use a lot of padding---those gates hurt when you hit 'em). A number of top World Cup athletes, including top U. S. racer Resi Steigler are fans who wear Shreds.
John Martz, a Park City web designer, works for the company, and says that goggles are only the beginning. "Sunglasses and clothing are in the works, we want to expand to those markets as well. I’m currently the marketing director, but what I’m really doing is implementing the web site for shredoptics.com. I’ve been helping him design new products, new straps for the goggles. He usually comes out with the ideas and he’ll discuss them with me, but I’m not the only one bringing up the ideas," Martz says.
In fact, the whole Shred concept is a bunch of buddies having creative fun.
"The actual design side is a very tight knit group of friends, but the manufacturing and distribution is done professionally. The group of friends role is coming up with ideas and just being creative. The business side, the lawyers and accountants, that’s a different side, that’s not Ted and his friends," says Martz.
The current line, still small, has two types of goggles; a double layer lens for snowboarders and regular skiers and a ski racer's model with a single lens that also comes with a spare yellow lens.
Each model costs $99. So why should snowriders purchase a pair?
"Racers should get them because they're durable. They have the best peripheral and upward vision of any goggle I've seen or used. We have lenses for every light condition possible. And some of the best racers in the world use them, so you know they're high performance. They're comfortable and they fit great with every helmet.
Recreational riders and freerides should want them for every reason I just said above and because they look edgy and cool, they're different from other companies," Ligety explained.
The goggle will be in stores soon, but the best place to purchase a pair right now is online at the company web site, www.buyshred.com